I don’t really like to talk about my insecurities. I’d rather tell you how Christ brings me hope and assurance so maybe the things that make me uncomfortable don’t have to be noticed as much. Perhaps I trick myself into thinking a brave face is the cure. Or maybe I coerce my heart into admitting my insecurities are invalid.
But a few weeks ago, something changed.
I’ve always known beauty is fleeting. It’ll disappear eventually for everyone. So when insecurity threatened, I would cling to the promise that a beautiful heart is more important than a beautiful exterior. I would tell myself I cannot let the world win me over by getting caught up in trying to achieve any kind of standard for an outward appearance. I wanted to be a Proverbs 31 woman, not Miss America. I knew I wasn’t as attractive as the next person, but I thought I had to be okay with that because I didn’t want to fall into an addiction to the pursuit of beauty. It was a battle already lost anyway. My mentality that God doesn’t care about beauty I assumed was the answer. If He didn’t care, neither should I.
But sometimes I wished He cared so I wouldn’t feel guilty for wanting reassurance.
He did care.
Not long after I had recommitted to my cause against beauty, I went to a concert to enjoy wonderful, worshipful music crafted by my friend and the group she is a part of, As Isaac. Afterward, someone I did not yet know looked my way and gave me a compliment which went directly to the center of my heart, leaving no room for doubt that the Lord heard my thoughts and wanted to prove me wrong.
My mind was overwhelmed in processing how He was so gracious to show me He does not judge in our insecurity, but desires to remind us He has made a beautiful creature.
This sweet girl proceeded to introduce herself and later I had an opportunity to share with her and my friend how much the compliment impacted me. I’m so grateful the Lord uses His followers to encourage each other and these precious believers have the boldness to let Him speak through them.
I think a lot of us would agree the criteria this world uses to measure beauty is tainted. The Lord grieves over a lot of the things we label as “beautiful” because He sees we’ve missed the point. But that doesn’t mean we have to abandon the idea of beauty. Telling each other we have “inner beauty” is not enough. Because it doesn’t satisfy the longing in our heart to be recognized as enough. It shows we’ve bought into the lies of worldly approval and know that many of the people around us just don’t measure up. We’ve created an alternative, ambiguous beauty so we Christians aren’t left out of this relentless strive for self-worth and approval.
But, oh, beloved – you are so beautiful just the way you are. If we believe in God’s perfection, there is no room to think He makes mistakes or went a little short on this or that. If we are made in His image, how could we be anything but lovely? You are enough when you have Christ living in you. He creates beautiful people and He delights in you. He doesn’t just want you to know, He wants you to understand and trust. You are beautiful.
I believe there is a hole in our heart labeled as the “desire to be beautiful” which can only be filled by knowing Christ and understanding His perspective of us. Nothing else will ever quench that burning desire – not our “inner beauty” alternative, not the world’s idea of physical perfection, not the affirmation of others, not our rebellion against beauty – because beautiful describes who God is and who He has created us to be, in His image. When our souls search for a glimpse of beauty, we’re really searching for Christ and assurance of our identity.
We may not fully be able to wrap our minds around beauty by the Lord’s standards, since it so greatly contrasts what the world portrays. But the only way to define it is by studying the Artist and looking at you, His masterpiece. It may take a moment for our eyes to adjust. The God-crafted beauty poured over each of us is intended to glorify our Creator, not ourselves.
He will remind us that beauty cannot be lost in a sea of arbitrary and unachievable standards, because beauty is a gift given to each of us when He breathed life into our souls before we were ever known by anyone else. No one and nothing can steal your beauty; they can only try to blind you to what is already there. Sickness, age, weariness, circumstance, and brokenness has no authority to take that which has been given to you by the One who is more powerful than it all.
Look around you and see the beauty He has made with His very own hands. Look at yourself in the mirror and see the person He declares has so much worth that nothing was too great to win your heart. You are beautiful not because I say so; because He says it is true. But I say it too, to echo the whispers of His voice in your heart. Those flaws you’re trying so hard to cover up are the very mark of His work. You don’t need to hide who you are. We are free to accept our identity in Christ which labels us as new creations and beautiful in His sight.
Let us reflect the value and beauty He has given us in the way we see ourselves, the way we speak to each other, and the way we act. Let us embrace humble hearts, but confident souls who know the Lord creates precious children. Let us be bold in marveling at the beauty God has created in each other – not to partake in vanity – but to glorify Him. When we’re tempted to forget, let us remember: we belong to the Lord. And He has made us beautiful.
Free, indeed, is the one the Son sets free.
[A Wide Place ~ As Isaac]